of the "Modern Love" column for The New York Times,
the author calls upon his experience with his advice-seeking
letter writers, plus his own long-term marriage to draw conclusions
about love. Although readers are unlikely to experience any
life-changing epiphanies while perusing these pages, they
will enjoy 209 entertaining pages of observations on love
in the computer age. That's the key to getting the most out
of this book: the anecdotes from real-life couples and descriptions
of their problems are observational rather than analytical.
The ten chapter titles progress logically beginning with "Pursuit"
and concluding with "Wisdom." Additional chapters
explore vulnerability and connection at a time when most of
us can hide behind a computer screen, username, online personality,
and fake photograph, and other issues including trust, an
area where even the most intelligent and educated can make
calamitous mistakes, as in the cited case of an elderly egomaniac
who believes an international supermodel has fallen desperately
in love with him. The author doesn't forget about monotony,
infidelity, or loyalty, which also have chapters devoted to
Regular readers of Jones's column should enjoy reading the
highlights of his letters received over the years, and those
unfamiliar with the column can also benefit from these stories
and observations. The author's modern take on romance, e.g.,
"soul mate in a box" and "booty grazing"
keeps the text relevant, and his witty writing style livens
up even the oldest topics. For instance, when he writes about
sexual chemistry among ex-spouses: "Chemistry.com has
confirmed you have chemistry. Or had chemistry. Before the
two of you blew up the lab."
With humor and compassion, Love Illuminated provides an intriguing
exploration of love through the eyes of a journalist and thousands
of letter-writers over the years.